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Here is a newly updated list of drug information sources that can be of help to you in your day-to-day practice:
• The Council on Family Health, with the Food and Drug Administration and the National Consumers League, have updated the consumer guide Drug Interactions: What You Should Know. This free guide is intended to help those who use medications — whether they be prescription, over-the-counter, or dietary supplements — avoid potential interactions between those medications. The publication details different types of drug interactions and provides consumers with lists of questions to ask their health care providers.
• The science of pharmacoeconomics enters the realm of medicine daily. More and more, pharmacists are having to make decisions for their institutions based on the economic issues of drugs. The peer-reviewed journal PharmacoEconomics is now among the journals indexed by the National Library of Medicine in its Medline database. The journal covers pharmacoeconomic decision making, outcomes research, and quality-of-life assessment.
• First DataBank has a new forum and new capabilities for AHFSfirst. AHFSfirst has been available for several years in desktop format for single users and networks. This drug information resource is now available for multiple users via intranet or the Internet. AHFSfirst packages AHFS Drug Information monographs from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and the National Drug Data File (NDDF) from first DataBank. For years, AHFS has provided monographs, and NDDF has provided clinical, descriptive, and pricing information for all drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration. NDDF data already match drug information in many hospital pharmacy systems.
The Web edition of AHFSfirst allows detailed searches in either database alone by typing in a drug name, then selecting NDDF Plus clinical data or full-text AHFS drug monographs. Other new capabilities include the system’s product identification feature to identify more than 10,000 drug products based on imprint data, color, shape, and other physical characteristics. Additionally, pharmacists can create a list of drugs to immediately check for any drug-drug interactions and duplicate therapies. Drug-drug interaction alerts are linked to interaction monographs to help the user in making the appropriate decision for the patient. Accessing the system via the Internet saves the time and effort of loading updates to individual users or servers.
• Facts and Comparisons has launched DrugFacts.com as a primary drug information resource available to health care providers on the internet. The resource is available both on a free basis and by subscription. Free access is offered to all to Facts and Comparisons titles including A-Z Drug Facts, Medfacts, and the Guide to Popular Natural Products. Premium resources such as Drug Facts and Comparisons, Drug Interaction Facts, and the Review of Natural Products are available on a subscription basis and can now be updated without the distribution and maintenance of paper. About 20% of DrugFacts.com is free at its Web site. Another 50% is available to those who register on the site — free of charge. The remaining 30% of information is available only by paid subscriptions.
• To fully use and apply the information available in the medical literature, pharmacists must be able to critique clinical drug studies. To this end, the American Pharmaceutical Association is publishing the textbook Principles of Scientific Literature Evaluation: Critiquing Clinical Drug Trial, by Frank J. Ascione, PhD.